All the hype around the death of the sedan is a bit exaggerated, since several automakers still offer them. Sedans continue to find buyers and if you’re in the market for a compact sedan, there are plenty of good options to choose from, like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Mazda 3. Hyundai also hasn’t abandoned the sedan segment yet and the 2023 Hyundai Elantra is a strong competitor to its Japanese rivals.
The Elantra has competed against the two heavyweights in the segment, the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla since the early 1990s. During its early days, the Elantra was a forgettable compact sedan for budget conscious buyers, but today things have changed. Hyundai is ready to be noticed with the latest Elantra and is no longer settling for being a wallflower in the segment. The Elantra’s bold styling is way more out there than the 2023 Civic or Corolla, which does make it a bit polarizing, but either way, it’s distinct.
The current generation Elantra debuted for the 2021 model year and when it arrived, its more aggressive styling made it hard to miss in a crowded mall parking lot. The sharp lines and creases, sleek roofline and the big grille add a dose of style that we haven’t really expected from the Elantra in the past.
Hyundai has also expanded the Elantra lineup to make it appealing to a larger set of sedan buyers. From the base, affordable SE, to the more luxurious Limited and the over the top Elantra N with 276 horsepower on tap, the Elantra has a nice variety of trims to satisfy most.
Inside the Elantra’s interior is nicely appointed with our Limited tester featuring a 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster and a 10.25-inch infotainment system. The two screens are connected, making the cabin feel more modern than either the Civic or Corolla. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included, but you still have to use a USB cord to connect to either system. The base model comes with an 8-inch touchscreen and a small 4.2-inch screen with analog gauges. All the controls are placed exactly where you would want them, since the center stack has been slightly angled towards the driver.
The interior is spacious with ample headroom and legroom in both the front and back. Most of the areas your eye sees regularly are covered in soft touch, high quality materials, but there are some areas where there’s a bit too much hard plastic.
Under the hood the Elantra is powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with a modest 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque, that’s mated to a continuously variable transmission. As you would expect with these specs, the Elantra has more than enough power for jaunts around the city, but if you want more power, you’ll have to go with the turbocharged Civic or Mazda 3. The Elantra is just not nearly as fun to drive as the Civic or Mazda 3. It’s rated up to 33 mpg city, 42 mpg highway, and 37 mpg combined. If you want more fuel efficiency, there’s the Elantra hybrid that gets up to 56 mpg.
Yes there is the Elantra N, but its more track focused powertrain and interior may be a too extreme for the average compact sedan buyer. Fortunately there’s the Elantra N Line that’s powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, that’s mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
On the road, the Elantra’s suspension does a great job of smoothing the road’s imperfections, but at the same time limiting the amount of body roll when you’re hitting the twists and turns. The steering is a bit light, but it’s quick and provides a good amount of feedback. Even with its limited power, the Elantra is agile and light on its feet to make it way more fun to drive than a bland crossover.
On the safety front, the Elantra comes standard with all the driver assistance features that you would expect, like automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, rear-cross traffic assist, and a Safe Exit warning. Adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection/ junction-turning detection are optional.
The 2023 Hyundai Elantra is offered in several trim levels: SE, SEL, Limited and N Line. The pricing for the Elantra SE starts at $23,015, including destination.
At the end of the day, the 2023 Hyundai Elantra is a stylish, compact sedan that is packed with features, all for a reasonable price. You no longer buy a Hyundai just for the value now, since although it’s still affordable, the Elantra stands out with its distinct styling, spacious interior and comfortable driving experience.